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Surprised to learn tick bite could be so serious

lymr-diseaseI am writing mainly to inform everybody about what I feel could be a serious health problem in this area. Perhaps it already is but few people are aware of it? Most people I have spoken to are not aware and neither was I –  until now.

It all started just after the long Canada Day weekend, when I noticed a small “bull’s eye” rash on my back shoulder blade. It did not really itch and there was nothing else there.
I went on the internet to look it up and it was undeniably caused by a tick bite. I guess the tick had feasted and then gone on its merry way.

My research of course led to the possibility of Lyme Disease and I continued to moniter the rash which was steadily growing.
The following week I woke up with all sorts of aches and pains and was taking at least three ibuprofen a day to relieve the pain. Two weeks later, I was dizzy, had extreme fatigue and could hardly function.

I took myself to the emergency department at Picton Hospital (thank goodness for that hospital being such a short drive from my home and thank you to the doctor there who immediately diagnosed the Lyme Disease).

I am now on a 14 day dose of Doxycycline Hyclate, an antibiotic to destroy the Lyme Disease.

I have since learned how serious and debilitating this disease can be if not caught soon enough. If it is treated within the first few weeks it can (hopefully) be cured by antibiotics.

I feel that more public awareness on this problem is vitally necessary, in order for people to be checked and treated  if they have been bitten by a tick.

There are ticks carrying Lyme Disease in the County!
I often go to the Sandbanks beach and Lakeshore Lodge and believe that is where I could possibly have been bitten. I think of all those people hiking on the trails at Sandbanks Provincial Park or camping in the campgrounds? Not to scare them away, but are they warned? Do the staff at the gatehouses hand out any kind of literature?
I myself will continue to go there but will definitely now know all the precautions to take.
I did contact the local public health department but the person I spoke to did not appear to be too interested.

I hope this letter helps somebody somewhere along the way.
I myself have learned plenty in the past week from this experience and am slowly feeling better.

Jacqui Warden

From www.canlyme.com:
Preventing infection
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid tick-infested areas whenever possible, particularly in spring and early summer when nymph ticks feed. Adult ticks are a bigger threat in fall. Ticks favour moist, shaded environments; especially leafy wooded areas and overgrown grassy habitats.
Top 5 tick habitat precautions
Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting inside your pants.
Check your clothes for ticks often. Ticks will climb upwards until they find an area of exposed skin.
Wear light coloured clothing to make it easier to spot ticks.
Walk on pathways or trails when possible staying in the middle. Avoid low-lying brush or long grass.
Apply insect repellent to your skin and clothing, especially at the openings such as ankle, wrist and neck.

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  1. Marnie says:

    All of us should remember to take the recommended precautions against tick bites. Sometimes it is simply best to avoid the areas where ticks are likely to be found, no matter how picturesque or interesting they may be.

  2. Loretta says:

    I attended a seminar about ticks and Lyme disease at Bloomfield Town hall in 2012. Not sure who sponsored it but the hall was packed with standing room only. Lots of good info was given and testimony from some suffering from Lyme disease. Maybe now that the word is spreading, more could be scheduled to raise awareness. I wish I could remember the name of at least one of the presenters, but I arrived a few minutes late, all the handouts were gone, and without a seat I was unable to stay for the full duration. Since the Lyme bearing ticks usually arrive in the county on birds, they can drop down on you from branches, not just from walking through tall grasses and brush. Any time I walk or work in my woods, I spray myself with Deet, wear a cap, long sleeves and tuck my pants into my socks. When done, i immediately take a shower and thoroughly check for ticks as you do not feel them bite you.

  3. tom says:

    I have seen many tick bites now ( 15ish ) and for some reason all have been up high near the chest/rib area ! Just an observation . And no, you don’t feel them until they are embedded under your skin in most cases. Their legs are barbed like a fish hook and hold on extremely well. See a Doctor if it’s burrowed in, you need to get it all out or it will heal very slowly. Just my 2 cents worth.

  4. Daniel says:

    I was surfing for answers on my tick bites I’ve been getting cottaging in Picton.
    Family and friends have all been bitten over the last 3 years. Near McMahon Bluff
    I am now dealing with 3 bites that just won’t heal..it’s been a year now, Itchy and painful. I think it is important to have our Picton Hospital updated with the most up to date medical help and treatments if:
    1 Bitten by a tick
    2 If lime disease is found
    3 If bite, swelling, itching does not go away
    Hope someone makes this a priority in Picton before someone gets very ill.
    -Daniel Jovkovic

  5. joe says:

    http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/1-1/jeannette_ferguson/

    check this, if you live in the country, Guinea Fowl are great tick control!

  6. David Norman says:

    A couple of summers back my son discovered a tic attached to his back while he was having a shower. He had been out for a walk on the Millennium Trail and walked up through some bush to our home where he figured he had acquired the tiny hitchhiker. I removed the tic and after discussions with a few other County residents and internet searches for information on the possible effects I became concerned. Over the next couple of weeks I watched for the “bull’s eye rash” and other symptoms of Lyme’s. One of the aspects I identified in my research in this respect was the sense that symptoms and treatments of Lyme’s were not broadly understood and/or even accepted in the medical community.
    After reading Jack’s comment in this thread, “Sounds like Prince Edward Point is a dangerous place to visit even if there are no wind turbines in the vicinity”, I was reminded of a recent paper I read which referenced Lyme’s in the context of the adverse health impacts of Industrial Wind Turbines being the result of the infamous “nocebo effect”. This paper, written by Raymond S. Hartman is a rather long but very interesting read (http://docs.wind-watch.org/Hartman_Adverse-Health-Impacts-of-IWTs-all-in-your-head.pdf). I quote the section from this paper where the comparison is made:

    “This diffusion of users or complainants about a new technology can take decades to evolve. A few new technologies/products/procedures which were initially believed to be benign; consumer-friendly; or productive and safe; or at least not dangerous, but were found to be deadly over time include the following:
    •Smoking cigarettes.
    •Using asbestos as a fire retardant and insulating material in commercial and residential construction, including grammar schools
    •Using certain herbicides and pesticides, like DDT.
    •Erecting residential buildings near abandoned toxic waste sites.
    •Discharging pollutants into waterways that served as drinking water and/or environments that were fished; for example GE dumping PCBs into the Hudson River.
    •Radon gas exposure in New England homes.
    •Automobile-induced air pollution and urban smog.
    •Impact of Agent Orange exposure upon American Vietnam veterans.
    •The complexity of symptoms of Lyme disease.

    Diffusion rates of complaints about the adverse side-effect profiles of these products, procedures, practices or infections took years to exhibit sufficient uptake to draw the attention of researchers. Researchers confirmed the adverse effects. Other users, who had not drawn, or had subliminally drawn, the connection between adverse effects they were experiencing and the products/procedures/infections they were using or had been exposed to, finally could confirm that effect. Even then, as complaints were increasing exponentially, researchers in the employ of or receiving financial support from the producers of some of the products at issue produced countervailing “science” claiming that the dangers being reported were not really induced by their products. For example, decades of research by the Tobacco Research Institute, a research institute staffed by many well-trained scientists but funded by Big Tobacco produced statistical studies that they purported demonstrated that cigarettes were either good for smokers or at least not dangerous to smokers.
    It was Junk Science; purported science with a promotional agenda. The same pattern is found with the other products listed above. The producers of the dangerous products frequently claimed that it was mass hysteria, induced by the publication of research that demonstrated that the product/technologies/procedures had adverse side effects. They were wrong; they knew they were wrong; they lied.”

  7. Jacqui says:

    I think they stay around until it snows or turns really cold?
    I am back out there walking but taking all the precautions!
    And checking myself every night.
    Seems crazy that we have to do this and that these pests can be so harmful…….

  8. Sedona says:

    A question

    are these still around in
    early October
    when do they vacate?

    feel better soon

    Sedona

  9. Sedona says:

    tks for posting this

    I will be more careful
    here and if I travel down there

    long pants for sure

    must be pro-active

    Sedona 🙂

  10. Jacqui says:

    Hi Catherine,
    No sometimes you do not know you have been bitten. Not all bites leave the tell tale bulls eye rash.
    The tick numbs you when it bites so you do not always feel it.
    Not all ticks carry Lyme disease .
    Unfortunately the one that bit me did.
    I believe flu like symptoms are the first sign (body cakes and pains) , head aches, and then extreme fatigue. This is how I felt.
    I believe arthritis could develop if the disease is left untreated.
    There is no accurate blood test in Canada unfortunately.
    Hope your mother is ok.
    Jacqui

  11. catherine kinnear says:

    Would you know if you had been bitten -as my mom has developed redness and very sore knee -was told she had arthritis ( but could she have a tick bite and not know it ) just concerned for her as her pain is bad in knee and started out about 1 month ago with redness and heat in knee (now just pain all the knee all the time ) she had ultra sound done and found arthritis (THANK YOU -just looking out for my mom (would hate to think she had it and we didn’t know) if anyone has any answers would be wonderful thanks again

  12. Bill says:

    Another method for treatment is Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy, which is conducted in a Diving Chamber. Fortunatly we have one here in the county, Give them a call and do a few dives with them to ensure the death of the ticks.
    Lyme disease consists of spirochetes which are invasive bacteria. Spirochetes have a head on both ends, allowing them the ability to burrow into the organ or muscle and sporactically change direction causing further damage. They also have the ability to take on the protein covering of one’s body, thereby disguising it from the body’s defense mechanisms. We have found that the spirochetes do not like 100% oxygen under a deep pressure.
    The deep pressure forces the oxygen into the fluids of the body as well as the tissues of the muscles and organs. It is even more effective when the spirochetes are going through their reproductive cycle and that is when we like to hit them hard. Spirochetes, on the other hand can survive and multiply in a slightly higher (than room air) oxygen content with a lower pressure.
    Some will be killed, but the survivors will get used to the oxygen and thrive.
    They are facultative anaerobes: An organism that can live in the absence as well as in the presence of atmospheric oxygen.

    When treating Lyme disease in a hyperbaric chamber with 100% oxygen at a deeper ATA it is recommended that you are diligent with your treatments and make the commitment to at least be able to catch the spirochetes during at least two of the cycles and, what was not destroyed during the first will hopefully be killed during the second cycle.

  13. Jacqui says:

    Sandie. – if you go on the canlyme web site, they have information on a doctor in Uxbridge. Also there is Dr. Jaconello in Toronto.
    I have not been to either Doctor but this is what I have learned.
    I am also seeing a nutritionist and am taking Sovereign Silver as a supplement and Pau D’arco tea, as well as the antibiotics.
    And yes this is all costing a lot of money as none of it is covered by OHIP etc.

  14. Jacqui says:

    Not sure if you can open that link?

    The Magnotta Foundation has just been recognized as a registered charity , which means it will now receive government funding.
    This money will be put towards a new unit at the Humber River Hospital, dedicated to the research and treatment of vector borne diseases including Lyme Disease.
    Due to open in 2015.

    The announcement can be found on the canlyme.com web site, under press/media releases.

  15. fed up says:

    fyi–The man who founded Magnotta winery in Niagara died after suffering for years from the after effects of lyme disease. Ticks hitch rides on migrating birds, so they can be anywhere. Most ticks do not carry lyme disease, but why take the chance?

  16. Jacqui says:

    Yes. If everyone visiting or living in the County, and other areas of Canada too, are aware of the problem, and can take the proper precautions we should be fine.
    I certainly was not aware, until now.
    I moved here to enjoy the natural beauty this area has to offer and love being outdoors and walking my dog. I will continue to do so, though I am a bit paranoid right now!!

    There needs to be better public education, and more advice and warnings out there.
    Especially to people entering Sandbanks Provincial Park and other conservation areas.
    Awareness is the first step.

    I am not sure how to make that happen though?
    The Department of Public Health for this area certainly did not appear to be interested.

  17. Tanya’s case sounds like the very one I was making reference to in my earlier message (see column link in my message below). And the threat of ticks and possible Lyme disease returns for an encore in the fall, extending well into November, if the weather is favourable. What amazes me is that it takes six weeks to get test results to come back for human patients, but it took only an hour for our dog to test positive for Lyme disease. She was treated with antibiotics for 28 days, although the symptoms (loss of appetite, lethargy, limping) completely disappeared in only three days. Black-legged ticks this year are very small, and if you have one attached, you will feel a sense of presence with an annoying itch.

    Ticks are here to stay, so take the necessary precautions when outdoors and make it a habit to do a regular body search. And please ignore the myths about how to remove a tick (paint thinner, kerosene, Vaseline, WD-40, ad infinitum). Such folk remedies will cause the tick to disgorge its contents into your bloodstream – exactly what you are trying to avoid. Tick pullers are the best and we never go into the field without one. They cost only a couple dollars and we have several so we can always find one, if we need it.

  18. Sandie says:

    Just to let you know that after several years of declining health I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease…No bulls eye rash but a positive blood test done here in Canada. After being told by 2 “specialists” they didn’t think I had Lyme Disease, I did my own research and had more blood tests done in the US (at my own expense..!!) Again the results were positive. Since then I have been bitten again by a tick which I took to the Health Unit in Picton. They sent it off and yes, it also came back positive. Luckily I had taken myself to Picton Hospital and my own Dr. was in that day. He gave me antibiotics on the spot just in case. I am now waiting to get to an appointment with a Dr. in the US to get treatment for the Lyme Disease. Seems we don’t have the treatment here in Canada..??? Something is wrong with that picture. If the vets can treat our dogs for the disease here why oh why do we have to go to another country and pay out of our own pocket for treatment for ourselves. Trust me…this isn’t going to end here….as soon as I get feeling better and find more energy, heads are going to roll…Our government is letting us down!!! For now, the best I can do is try to educate people and make them aware, there really is Lyme Disease here in the County. I don’t want to scare people but they need to know what to do and how it should be handled should the need arise.

    Thanks for running this story …

  19. fed up says:

    According to my vet, lyme disease is much more serious for humans than for dogs.

  20. Jack says:

    Sounds like Prince Edward Point is a dangerous place to visit even if their are no wind turbines in the vicinity.

  21. Tanya Fox says:

    My youngest son got lyme disease 5 years ago when he 6 years old. We were camping at Presquille Provincial Park (Brighton- not too far away) We never found a tick on him but my husband thought that the bulls eye rash meant Lyme disease. He became very sick, and the hospital emergency room doctor said there was not Lyme disease here. He began to have swollen knees and joints. Months later we took him to our family doctor, who tested and successfully treated him immediately for Lyme disease, before the tests results came back, positive of course.

    This spring my eldest son picked a tick out, this time camping in Prince Edward County. When I took the tick to the health unit, the man there said he wants the people in Prince Edward County to know that the ticks here may carry Lyme disease, and to prevent ticks with spray and properly covering yourself while outside. Also, there is not always a bulls eye rash to signal the presence of Lyme disease.

    After 6 weeks the results came back this past week that the tick we took in to be tested in May was not positive for Lyme disease.

    The word needs to be spread the there is Lyme disease in Prince Edward County, and we need to take preventative steps by spraying with DEET and covering up exposed skin, while enjoying the outdoors.

  22. Doris Lane says:

    I was only out to Prince Edward Point for about half an hour. That night something itched inside my arm above the elbow and when I looked at it I thought it was just a m but then the next day it bothered me and I decided to pull on it and someting came off and when I looked at it sure enough it was a tick. Unfortunately I dropped it onthe floor and could not get a closer look. Although it did not get a red circle around, my doctor gave me antibiotics, aspecial king, and I was to take one and carry the bottle with me and if I got another tick on me to take another pill. My vet has a poster on his counter that shows all the different kinds of ticks and he says they are very plentiful this year,
    Clothing to protect you is good but the day I got the tick inside my arm it was spring and Ihad a long sleeved shirt and long sleeved coat, so if you go where ticks are found be sure and check your body when you get home and get one of the tick remover things that Terry Sprague mentioned.
    Lyme disease is very serious–please be cautious

  23. Jacqui says:

    Thank you for your comments!
    Not all tick bites result in the rash, but they can still carry and infect you with the disease. It then goes mistreated and misdiagnosed if symptoms appear later on. It is better if the rash appears because then you know for sue you have been bitten and infected.

    http://www.canlyme.ca is worth checking out.

    There is no accurate blood test available in Canada.
    Blood has to be sent to the US for accurate testing. The antibodies only show up in the blood after 4 weeks of being infected. Therefore early testing is no good.

  24. I am not sure why this area is so painfully slow in warning the public about black-legged ticks, or even acknowledging that some may carry Lyme Disease. There are information signs at Prince Edward Point where Lyme Disease has been detected, and on my guided hikes, I always do a preamble about the presence of ticks wherever we go, and how best to protect oneself. Due to the nature of my work, I often average one tick every day and have made it a habit to always carry a tick puller with me wherever I go, readily available from any animal hospital. Our Shih-Tzu contracted Lyme Disease last year, was swiftly diagnosed by our Vet, and successfully treated accordingly. Black-legged ticks are slow feeders so even if they are carrying Lyme Disease, you are quite safe if you can detect and remove the tick within 24 hours. Below is a column I wrote on Lyme Disease a few years ago with some sombre comments from Dr. Rice.
    http://naturestuff.net/site/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1013&Itemid=43

  25. Wolf Braun says:

    Wishing you a speedy recovery Jacqui ! You got lucky with your doctor at PECMH… the best hospital in the Quinte region.

    We walk our dogs at Sandbanks over by the old Lakeshore Lodge. We’re constantly picking ticks off their bodies
    as a results. North Beach is also a bad place for ticks.
    So are some of the other Conservation Parks, i.e.Beaver Meadow. Both our dogs are vaccinated against Lyme.

    Two years ago both my wife and I had tick bites. No red
    bulls eye…thank goodness. Our doctor sent the
    ticks to the Health Dept. and you’re right they didn’t
    seem to want to acknowledge that we have a problem with
    ticks here in the County.

    We check with our Vet regularly for updates on ticks and those carrying Lyme. The Vets test for ticks with Lyme and yes they do exist in the County. Thankfully, the majority of ticks do not carry the disease.

    Awareness makes a big difference. Prevention as well… clothing and checking are biggies for us. Get well soon.

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